Sunday, September 30, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Last Ship' - The Nathan James Is Hurt After a Shocking Betrayal at Sea and at Home in 'Tropic of Cancer'

TNT's The Last Ship - Episode 5.04 "Tropic of Cancer"

As Nathan James and her allies attempt to prevent the enemy moving north, Chandler's haunting visions manifest into reality.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of TNT's The Last Ship.

"Tropic of Cancer" was written by Katie Swain and directed by Bud Kremp

It's not surprising in the slightest that Kelsey, Alisha's girlfriend, was revealed to be the mole who got into the Command Center's system to carry out the hack on the United States. She was really the only viable candidate. Alisha's personal life was the only look outside of the war and command room. She was the only person who had that outside connection that seemed all too likely to be manipulated. Sure, it's crazy to think that this entire attack depended on Alisha putting her key card on top of her cell phone while going through security. That's how Kelsey planted the bug that would infiltrate the system. She didn't just steal the card while at home with Alisha. Instead, it depended entirely on luck and knowing that this was how Alisha operates going into work. Moreover, the show plays into a very unfortunate stereotype by killing off Alisha as soon as she confronts Kelsey about all of this. That reveal means that there is an entire operation working for Tavo in the United States. They are covertly trying to take down the government from the inside. That's very ominous. It also should make the audience question if the United States was even aware of Tavo's growing influence in the world. Everything has fallen for him very quickly throughout this season. He presents himself as a very dangerous opponent who isn't thinking as small as the other threats the Nathan James has faced over the series. He has grand ambitions to be the lead of an entire continent. He plotted to take down the United States by sending Kelsey to get close with Alisha. Sure, Alisha's death feels more like an unfortunate accident. Kelsey didn't have orders for what to do should this happen. The navy will be able to figure out what happened pretty quickly as well. The evidence is still in their possession to know how all of this happened. They can restore their systems now that they know how the hack occurred. The show just chose to reveal that while killing off its only LGBT character. This is the first time the show has really explored Alisha's personal life as well. And now, she just becomes collateral damage in order to increase the stakes of this war. That's lame and annoying to those viewers who have seen so many gay characters die instead of achieve happy lives. Up until that point, it seemed like this episode was doing a strong job in exploring the importance of diplomacy and having allies. Even when the Nathan James was the only ship in the American fleet, there was the unifying idea that they were fighting for a greater idea. One that would unify all people should they be given the tools to succeed. And now, the Nathan James has enlisted Mexico and Cuba to push back against tyranny. They are able to defeat the Colombian ships that try to go at it alone. That's how Tavo wants to lead. He believes he commands more power than any other country. Every government of South and Central America is falling in line behind him. And yet, he is only able to succeed here because he reaches out with a better offer for Cuba. Him learning that lesson will ensure he remains a significant threat as the season progresses. In fact, the destruction of the Nathan James here signals that the ship and its commander aren't as indestructible as they have always been portrayed. This may actually be the last fight for both of them. The Nathan James and Tom Chandler can't survive everything after all.